Bob's Basic Brush Lesson

Welcome Back to Another BobBlast!

This BobBlast is all about basic things to know about artist brushes. Think of an artist brush as a tool to spread, brush, dab, push or swirl colorful paint around on your painting surface!

There are 15 different shapes, as well as a variety of (at least) 12 different brush hairs. Some are natural and the others are synthetic, and blends of both. Whew!

So now you have fifteen shapes with twelve different hairs. Now you are probably asking... How do I choose the right brush for the right job, right? Here are a few thoughts about that important question. 

When asked, "What size brush did you use?" That's like asking a photographer what camera did they use. We all know it is not the camera and it's not the brush. It's YOU the artist... and what you do with it.

Meanwhile, back to the quick lesson on brushes! Natural hair brushes are mostly used with watercolor paints. Natural hair bristles have hollow follicles - they hold a lot of water and pigment.

Oil painters lean towards stiffer hair brushes - to push the paint around. I like to use short, choppy strokes when using oil paint. I always say, get in - get out!

Acrylic painters use everything for various personal reasons. Plus, the brushes are generally less expensive than natural hair watercolor brushes. Each brush design and brush hair type have unique functions. You will most likely try them all and then settle down to 3 or 4 of your favorite brushes. It's a personal thing and it's not up to the brush to do all the work!

For me, painting with alternate tools - paper towels, sticks and even my fingers - opens up a looser direction in my work. Even though I've been classically trained, I paint with a freer technique when NOT using a standard brush.

One more thing I should mention - I have found that brush "number" sizes are not consistent throughout the industry. So, don't get confused thinking that one manufacturer's size #8 is the same size as another's. They're not! I prefer going to an actual art store and hold the brushes. I check the weight, the quality and what I need it for. (Do I really NEED another brush?)  I suggest, if you're not sure what you need, get to your art store and play with all the brushes!

In closing our brief, basic brush lesson... Clean your  brushes with commercial brush soap. I use Murphy's Oil Soap (unconcentrated) to restore dried-out bristles and accumulated paint. Also recommended is SavvySoap by  Marvelous Marianne and CitraSolv! 

Buying a brush is not like buying a car... get several at a time!

To view more of my favorite art materials, go to my website and click on my "Studio Resource List" - you can download it as a PDF.

Thanks again for watching and telling your friends! All my BobBlasts are archived on my website and my YouTube Channel. We post new studio tips weekly that offer real content, substance and useful techniques that work for me. And they're free!  We appreciate your interest, questions, comments and support!

Here's a quick reminder about some upcoming workshops and dates. 
If interested, sign up now!

Featured Workshops :

Abstract Acrylic Painting & Collage in Mexico
January 20-27, 2018
Casa de Los Artistas
Boca de Tomatlan, 10 miles South of Puerto Vallarta
Contact Robert Masla, (413) 625-8383

Abstract Acrylic Painting & Collage
February 4-8, 2018
Donna Downey Studios
Huntersville, NC 28078
Contact Bill Downey, (704) 948-4627 or

Abstract Acrylic Painting & Collage
February 18-21, 2018  
The Studios at Key West
Key West, Florida
Contact Erin Stover-Sickmen, Artistic Director or call (305) 296-0458

Abstract Acrylic Painting & Collage
March 9-11, 2018
Art Box Studio
1302 Monte Vista, Unit 9, Upland, CA
Contact Sylvia Megerdichian (909) 981-4508 or 

Robert Burridge 5-Day Instructional Studio Workshop
March 26-30, 2018
Bob's Arroyo Grande, CA Studio  (Wednesday-Sunday)
Contact for fees and details.
Click HERE for more info. 

View Bob's 2018 Workshop Schedule, click here. 
...Check out his 2018 Studio Workshops!  click here.

Hope you have enjoyed these short, weekly blasts! Sign up on my website and keep watching. There are lots of them! 

Click  HERE  to view  BobBlast Issue 184
"Bob's Basic Brush Lesson"

Bob's Basic Brush Lesson

Love, Peace & Happiness,
Robert Burridge

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